Ancient letter: Send more wine

A long time ago, if you wanted to communicate with someone who wasn’t within shouting distance, you had to write something down and have someone physically carry your message to them. Think of it as e-mail, but without the E. And because of one of these cell phone-less text messages, we now know that soldiering in 600 B.C. was thirsty work.

In 1965, archaeologists in modern-day Israel found a shard of a pot with some writing on it. It turned out to be a letter from one soldier to another. (This was ancient times, and pottery was shattering all the time, so using shards for stationery was apparently a common thing.) But since the letter was more than 2,500 years old, the writing had faded a bit. Researchers using modern technology were able to uncover the previously hidden message and it’s a request for more wine. The letter also talks about other goods and a trade, but really hammers home that the author really needs more wine, and the recipient should be a chum and ship him some.

What’s even better is that the soldiers could be talking about beer, not wine. Grapes don’t grow in the Middle East, so it’s more likely that it was an alcoholic drink made from the grains that do grow there, maybe even honey. Translations of these ancient words were done centuries later by people who drank wine because trade was way better and it was a status symbol. They saw some ancient word for an alcoholic beverage and thought “wine,” when it was probably a drink closer to beer.

This shard could be evidence of the first beer run.

World is drinking less, despite Guys’ best efforts

We can’t do this alone, people.

Global alcohol sales were down 1.3% last year, and no one knows why. The world economy has been improving, and global gross domestic product was up 3.1%, which should mean that people around the world have the cash to go boozing, but they just aren’t.

It gets worse. In the U.S., which we don’t need to tell you is still in a craft beer renaissance, beer volumes are dropping because we’re not drinking as much. Over at Big Beer hegemon Anheuser-Busch Inbev, only Budweiser and Bud Light were able to stop the freefall they’ve been in for years.

The good news is that more Americans appear to be drinking liquor again, especially whiskey.

Citizens of the world, The Guys need your help. The brewers and distillers, heck, maybe even the winemakers, of the world are making booze for us to drink. Those bottles aren’t going to empty themselves. Let’s get to work.

Apparently teachers aren’t allowed to drink in class

Teaching is hard work. Just ask any teacher, they will be happy to tell you about how underappreciated they are, and why they should be making more money. These people really enjoy their lives. And it’s because teaching is so hard that they should be able to drink on the job. But we don’t live in a just world.

In South Carolina, a substitute teacher was arrested for drinking in front of high school students in class. According to authorities, the woman had a box of wine in her purse, which is saying something about the size of her purse.

Now, the spoilsports will point to the fact that the substitute teacher drank so much that she was throwing up, and had to be removed from class in a wheelchair because she was unable to walk, but we would argue otherwise. What better way to keep the youth of America from drinking than by getting wasted in front of them and puking in class. If teachers aren’t cool, then everything they do isn’t cool, including getting blitzed.

Science: Booze is booze is booze

If you see a difference between these drinks, you’re biased.

It’s Valentine’s Day, and whether that means you’re drinking wine with your lover, or pounding cheap whiskey mixed with tears because you’re alone, your body treats it all the same.

According to researchers, your body can’t tell the difference between the alcohol in one drink from another. Which means if tequila makes your clothes fall off, the same amount of alcohol from hard cider will, too. The real factor is how much alcohol is in your drink, and how much alcohol is going into your system.

So don’t worry about buying the good stuff. Once it’s past your tongue, your body doesn’t know if it’s rotgut or septuple-distilled vodka.

 

Weekend science: Drink before you smoke

Everyone knows that smoking is bad. Many people know that drinking and smoking is fun, but we now know that drinking when smoking can be good for you.

According to a published scientific study that has no chance of ever being pulled or refuted, if you drink a couple glasses of red wine before lighting up, you may block some of the damage from tobacco smoking. Turns out, red wine’s benefits on your cardiovascular system can block the short-term negative effects that cigarette in your hand will have on your arteries.

So smoke ’em if you got ’em, but knock a couple back first. We may be enablers, but we don’t want you to die.

The McBournie Minute: Get excited for ballot measures

After what seems like a decade, it’s finally here. Americans get to vote tomorrow, and say goodbye to those endless attack ads on TV and those political images with words on them that are always false, but that one friend always shares on Facebook. We made it, everyone!

You’ve known for months who you are voting for, unless you’re an idiot who is somehow still undecided, but do you know how you’re going to vote on the ballot issues? That’s right, folks, ballot measures are back, and they probably will have a more direct and immediate impact on your life.

So let’s take a look at some of the big issues out there. As I did two years ago, I’ll tell you which way you should vote tomorrow. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: Get excited for ballot measures

You Missed It: Free as a bird edition

"We liberated this bird sanctuary from the evil federal government."
“We liberated this bird sanctuary from the evil federal government.”

I’m pretty sure I’m just watching The Walking Dead so I know what the hell people are talking about. I know it’s one of the biggest shows right now, but it’s felt tedious for about half of its existence. It takes place in a world where only whiny or awful people are able to escape the zombie apocalypse. The group we follow keeps running into bad dudes at the beginning of each season, so they kill them off and torch their homes in every season finale. Each time, the heroes get harder to root for. The show isn’t working toward anything. It’s just there to keep moving, which it is happy to tell us in the speeches its characters make 30 times an episode. If you were busy avoiding spoilers this week, odds are you missed it.

Oppressive government fails to convict those it oppresses
Remember that group of white guys that took over a federal wildlife refuge for no clear reason and even fewer supplies? You know, the ones who were so oppressed by the federal government that they took their rifles and played soldier on federal land for a few weeks? Seven members of Y’all Qaeda, including the Bundy brothers, were acquitted on federal conspiracy and firearms charges. Any moment now, Donald Trump is going to brag about the seven votes he just got.

North Korean flag not red, just wine-stained
This week it was reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has quite a taste for alcohol. A Japanese sushi chef who recently visited Kim said he is drinking and eating as much as ever. He even boasted of drinking 10 bottles of red wine at one meal. Many question whether Kim suffers from alcoholism, but the real issue here is who drinks red wine with sushi?

Jesus’ tomb to be opened
Researchers in Jerusalem are excavating part of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus. They hope to open the tomb and make it available for tourists one day. But if you read the book, you already know Jesus isn’t in there.

Expect a wine shortage this year

As if 2016 wasn’t bad enough, it looks like we’re going to be short on wine this year.

It’s been a bad growing season for vineyards around the world. Harvests in South America and France are both down because of weather. That means there will be 5% less wine made this year, which also means that 5% of wine drinkers are going to have to forgo wine this year.

You can always switch to bourbon. Oh wait.

Bad news: Booze ingredients running low

It’s August, which means winter seasonal beers are just a few weeks away. But it also means pumpkin beers will be hitting shelves any day now. But it’s not good news for pumpkin beer lovers, they’re running low on pumpkins.

For the second year in a row, American brewers report that they are having trouble finding enough orange gourds to make the beer that people either love or compare to Hitler. It seems pumpkin demand is so high that farmers aren’t able to keep up with demand, plus, some farmers, such as those in the Richmond, Virginia area, suffered a bad pumpkin crop this year.

And in Europe, things aren’t looking so good for fans of bubbly. The Champagne region of France, which is coincidentally where champagne is made, has had a rough grape-growing year. Vineyards have suffered from rot, mildew and frost. That means it’s going to be a bad year for your favorite New Year’s beverage.

We don’t mean to be alarmist, but now might be the time to stock up on alcohol, you know, before everyone else cleans out the stores.

France on high alert after ‘wine terrorists’ attack

Hold your wine glasses a little tighter tonight. The streets of one French town ran red with wine, and residents are left asking why.

In the South of France, the town of Sete found one of its streets awash in wine for hours, and authorities are baffled. The flood of wine, several inches deep, came from the spilled barrels at a local wine merchant’s house. While officials have yet to name a cause of the incident, many suspect it is the work of a group of “wine terrorists,” a “Malbec Qaeda” if you will, who are against the import of goods to the area. Until this group claims responsibility, the French are forced to shake their heads and exclaim, “Sacre bleu!”

The only thing that can stop a bad guy with wine is a good guy with wine.